Ten years on: Experts reflect on the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami (2023)

Ten years after the devastating2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, experts reflect on the event and how our understanding of these disasters has changed over the last decade.

Ten years on: Experts reflect on the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami (1)At 2pm NZT on the 26th December 2004, a ~9.2 magnitude quake 160 km off the coast of northern Sumatra generated an immense tsunami, the likes of which the modern world had not seen.

The tsunami killed over 230,000 people in fourteen countries and caused billions of dollars of damage.

Ahead of the ten-year anniversary, the Science Media Centre has contacted New Zealand experts for their views and thoughts on the event and the changes in knowledge over the last ten years.

Dr Rob Bell, Programme Leader: Hazards & Risk, NIWA, comments:

“The unfolding tsunami disaster was a shock globally, as it became the biggest tsunami event since the1960 Chile event, four decades earlier. In my role as a tsunami advisor to the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, working on Boxing Day at the office, it was hard to concentrate on the likely warning implications for New Zealand while the devastating news kept rolling across the TV and the internet. The first waves in New Zealand arrived around 6-7 am the next morning, but only reached a maximum wave height of 0.6 to 0.8 m – considerably smaller than the 30+ metre high waves that flowed overland in Banda Aceh.

Ten years on: Experts reflect on the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami (2)

“As the disaster response moved from the heavy rescue phase to relief and initial reconstruction, the NZ Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE) assembled an inter-disciplinary team of six from NZ to survey the impacts and recovery operations in southern Thailand. I was part of that team in the capacity of a tsunami wave and coastal engineering expert. Reasons for going were the similarities to our infrastructure and topography and bringing home lessons applicable to New Zealand. Our reconnaissance team visited western Thailand from 24 January to 1 February, four weeks after the event, assisted by Thai government agencies. Already by then, some areas had been cleared of debris and work was underway rebuilding housing – but – the sheer scale of damage and destruction took days to sink in. Sobering to observe damaged three storey buildings, where the peak water level of 14 metres had reached the roof, and holes had been punched through the tiles in desperation to escape. Many tales of miraculous survival from those we interviewed – but also much sorrow and bewilderment of how this event had taken so many lives, many of them tourists from all around the world.

“The Boxing Day event paved the way for major advances in monitoring and associated warning systems, including in NZ through the GeoNet system. However, these warning systems are really only effective for tsunami sources more than 1-2 hours from the area of concern. New Zealand faces the potential for large magnitude earthquakes on our subduction margin, especially off the east coast of the North Island. With less than an hour travel time, residents will need to personally process and heed natural warnings such as “long or strong” ground motion to self-evacuate. However, the legacy of the Boxing Day tsunami has reinforced the need for us to be aware of those natural warnings including beach observations like receding or advancing tidal waters or a foaming wave front offshore.”

Dr Jose Borrero, Director of eCoast Ltd,comments:

(Video) 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami: Surviving The Deadliest Tsunami In Recorded History - Podcast #201

“At the time of the 2004 tsunami I was 33 years old, a few years out of a Ph.D. and had nearly 10 years experience in post-tsunami data collection and damage assessment surveys, including work in Sissano and Aitape, Papua New Guinea in 1998 (~14 m tsunami, >2500 killed) and Camaná, Peru in 2001 (>10 m tsunami, ~400 killed), but nothing in my wildest dreams (or nightmares) prepared me for what I saw in Banda Aceh.

“I was working alone, trying to survey and document an incomprehensibly large disaster area. As I surveyed the area, I would regularly come across bodies in the piles of debris while at the same time, recovery teams were filling dump trucks with body bags. My reports from ‘ground zero’ were the first to bring the scale of the disaster out to the tsunami research and mainstream scientific community. As it turned out, surveys of the 2004 event continued across the Indian Ocean for the better part of 2005 with teams visiting and collecting data from every country on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

“Since then, what was a fringe discipline in earth science and engineering has gone totally mainstream and the global awareness of this phenomenon has increased significantly (which is a good thing!). In the intervening years we have had several significant tsunamis, including events in Java 2006, South Sumatra 2007, Samoa 2009, Chile 2010, Mentawai Islands 2010, Japan 2011, and most recently in El Salvador 2012 and northern Chile in 2014 (and yes it affected New Zealand, but not very much…).

“These days my work in tsunamis continues and I am presently completing a multi-year research project for the NZ Government looking at tsunami hazards in New Zealand ports and harbours. I hope to extend this work in coming years (if I get the funding) to fine tuning existing computer models to provide ‘faster than real time’ assessments of tsunami effects if/when another large trans-Pacific tsunami is making its way towards New Zealand. I am also working on tsunami hazard assessments for communities in New Zealand for the Waikato Regional Council.”

Dr Borrero has uploaded hisentire collection of photos from Banda Aceh, taken less than 2 weeks after the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 (more here). At the time he was the first foreign scientist to reach the disaster area. Dr Borrero is travelling but can be contacted by email.

Dr William Power, Senior Geophysicist, GNS Science, comments:

“The Boxing Day tsunami started a process that lead to major changes in how we understand the threat of large earthquakes and tsunamis posed by ‘subduction zone plate boundaries’ i.e. where tectonic plates collide and one is pushed under another.

“The Boxing Day earthquake and the 2011 Tohoku (Japan) earthquake were both much larger than had been expected and planned for in those locations – with tragic consequences.

“To find a historical earthquake in Japan of similar size to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake we need to go back to AD 869. In Japan the tectonic plates are moving towards each other twice as fast as in New Zealand, so it is quite possible that the interval between the largest earthquakes here could be over 2000 years. Since the historical record in New Zealand only extends for about 200 years, we cannot rely on it to include the worst cases if these occur over intervals measured in thousands of years.

(Video) The Indian Ocean Tsunami

“Maori oral history includes descriptions of tsunami from before the arrival of Europeans, but it is difficult to interpret the specifics of where, when, and how large these events were.

“Many theories about which plate boundaries could experience the largest earthquakes have been contradicted, particularly by the tsunamis in Indonesia in 2004 and Samoa in 2009.

“Globally there has been a change in perspective, we now consider any subduction interface to be capable of large earthquakes and tsunamis until there is clear evidence otherwise. Since the written historical record of tsunamis in New Zealand is not adequate to tell us what can happen in future we must look instead to paleotsunami and paleoseismology to tell us what happened further in the past. And to geophysics to tell us more about what is happening on the plate boundary now.

“Paleotsunami evidence is steadily being uncovered suggesting that there have been large tsunamis on the east coast of the North Island (between Cook Strait and the East Cape) over the “past several thousand years. Paleotsunami evidence from Northland and the Coromandel area is consistent with there having been large tsunamis originating in the area between the East Cape and the Kemadec Islands over the past several thousand years.

“Geophysics now tells us much more about what is happening on the boundaries between tectonic plates – whether these are firmly stuck together, or are sticking and slipping at intervals, or are freely sliding past each other. But interpreting this information in order to better estimate the likelihood of future large earthquakes remains a major challenge.

Dr Ken Gledhill, Head of Department, GeoNet and Geohazards Monitoring, GNS Science, comments:

“The huge impact of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in the Indian Ocean changed our perception of tsunami forever. We all now understand the potential of these extreme natural events. Large tsunami had occurred previously in the Pacific Ocean, notably in the 1960s leading to the establishment of the Pacific Tsunami Warning System in 1965 (next year marks the 50th anniversary). None had caused the huge loss of life and been such profound media events (until the Japan tsunami of 2011).

“The Boxing Day tsunami was the start of a decade of destructive tsunami. These include the 2007 Solomon Islands, 2009 Samoan Islands, 2010 Chilean and 2011 Japan tsunami in the Pacific. All caused significant loss of life and damage near-source, and tsunami warnings in New Zealand, with tsunami surges on our coasts of more than a metre recorded, including minor inundation.

“The Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (PTWS) was the only tsunami warning system before the Boxing Day tsunami, but is now one of four globally covering the world’s oceans.

(Video) 2004 Tsunami - Survivor's Story (with footage)

“Tsunami warning in New Zealand has changed considerably and now uses tsunami forecast models to establish the potential threat in pre-defined coastal zones. The threat levels can be used to inform evacuation decisions based on already-planned evacuation zones and routes. The whole warning system is now much more end-to-end. GNS Science act as the science advisors to Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, employing forecast models and the expert knowledge of the “Tsunami Experts Panel”, a group of New Zealand based tsunami scientists.

“On 1 October this year PTWS updated its tsunami warning capability using similar techniques to those we currently employ in New Zealand. Now the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii (the operational centre of PTWS) sends pictorial and text messages to member countries based on tsunami forecast models and the expected impacts on coastlines. This replaces the messaging based solely on the size and location of possible tsunami generating earthquakes.

“New Zealand is now well served by PTWC and the advice provided by GNS Science (via GeoNet and the Tsunami Experts Panel) for distant and regional tsunami. But we still rely totally on natural warnings (feeling high levels of, or long lasting shaking , and unusual sea behaviour)for local-source tsunami (earthquakes or triggered undersea landslides near our coast) warning.

“Very few countries attempt local tsunami warning, but there are some situations in New Zealand where a tsunami-causing earthquake may not be felt strongly, leaving a potential gap in our tsunami warning strategy. On the east coast of the North Island we like above a huge fault (the subduction zone) where the Pacific tectonic plate meets and is pushed down below the Australian plate. Many earthquake types can happen in this process, including “slow” earthquake which will not be strongly felt. And further north of New Zealand, a very large earthquake could send a tsunami towards populated parts of the upper North Island without high levels of shaking being felt on-land. Work continues on the science and technology necessary to provide official warnings for these local events which may provide only minutes to 10s of minutes of warning time.

“There is no substitute for education and the heeding of natural warnings, but if resources were no object New Zealand should consider the establishment of a local-source tsunami warning capability.”

Dr Gledhill has also written about the Anniversary on theGeoNet – Science in Actionblog.

Dr Emily Lane, Hydrodynamics Scientist, NIWA, comments:

“The 2004 Boxing Day tsunami was a wake-up call. Prior to it, the India Ocean was not seen as a place with a significant tsunami hazard – large tsunamis happened in the Pacific Ocean, usually generated by earthquakes off the coasts of Japan, Alaska or South America. I have just come back from a conference in India on the Boxing Day tsunami and many of the Indian scientists, who experienced it first-hand, freely admitted that they had never even heard the word before – let alone knew how to pronounce it. Happily, India now has a strong core of tsunami researchers working hard to understand their risk.

“By contrast, New Zealand knew it had a tsunami hazard (I remember learning about ‘tidal waves’ – as they were then known – back in primary school) but many didn’t really know what that meant. The Boxing Day event showed the power of tsunamis, bringing them into the spotlight. The more people are aware of tsunamis and know what to do when one occurs, the safer they are. When people forget or become complacent, the risk increases. More recent tsunamis in the South Pacific, Chile and Japan have kept this memory fresh and have given civil defence a chance to practice and refine their response, identifying and correcting problems. Initiatives like the blue line in Wellington also maintain awareness.

(Video) Picking Up The Pieces After The 2004 Aceh Tsunami | One Day That Changed Asia | Full Episode

“One of the main lessons to come out of the Boxing Day tsunami was ‘Watch out for unknown unknowns.’ Tsunamis aren’t common, so common sense – ‘There’s never been a tsunami here before in my lifetime’ – doesn’t apply. This is where science is important. Science can help us both look back into the past and try to predict the future to understand our tsunami risk.

Archaeological and palaeo-tsunami research (identifying past tsunamis from layers of sediment they deposit) have identified that tsunamis around the fourteenth century destroyed Maori villages around New Zealand and caused some tribes to move inland. This work is vital in understanding how often large tsunamis hit New Zealand but it is difficult and painstaking work and more needs to be done.

“Geophysical understanding of what causes tsunamis together with computer modelling shows how big the hazard could be, so that we can plan for it. A collaboration between NIWA and GNS is assessing the hazard to Wellington from tsunamis generated by submarine landslides in Cook Strait Canyon. We know that landslides occur – we can see the tell-tale scars on the sides of the canyon – and we know that submarine landslides cause tsunamis. We want to know how bad it could be before one happens – not after.

“Tsunami science has come a long way in the last ten years. We can assess the risks more accurately and that means our emergency response plans are better. But there is always more we can learn, especially from disasters like the Boxing Day tsunami, to keep the world safer in the future.”

David Coetzee, Manager, Capability & Operations, Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, comments:

“As a result of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) commissioned GNS Science to deliver a report on the tsunami hazard and its risk in New Zealand to establish an “official” understanding in this regard. The Review of Tsunami Hazard and Risk in New Zealand was published in 2005.

“The report was the stimulus for the establishment of a Tsunami Risk Management Programme led by MCDEM. The Programme involved further investment in the development of tsunami modelling to support threat forecasts and warnings, the establishment of a National Tsunami Advisory and Warning Plan as well as consistent standards for tsunami signage, sirens and public messaging, and the issue of national guidelines on tsunami evacuation zones as well as public alerting options.These documents are all available on the MCDEM website.

“As part of the on-going Tsunami Risk Management Programme, MCDEM recently commissioned GNS Science to update the 2005 Review of Tsunami Hazard and Risk in New Zealand to take account of research and changes in scientific understanding of tsunami since 2005. The update was published in August 2013 and can also be found on the MCDEM website. A substantially revised probabilistic model was constructed for the updated report, which for the first time estimates the tsunami hazard for all parts of the New Zealand coastline, and takes into account all sources of earthquake-generated tsunami (local, regional and distant) – where-as the 2005 report focused only on the main urban centres and did not account for local source tsunami.

“The Programme is still on-going and besides continuous review and updating of the guidelines, it now also starts to direct its focus towards further subjects such as land use planning from a tsunami hazard perspective and vertical evacuation design specifications. A seminar was held in Gisborne in October 2014 to start discussion on these subjects.

(Video) After the Tsunami: Sri Lankan survivors on the 2004 boxing day Tsunami

“Several countries have upgraded their public alerting a capability since the Boxing Day tsunami. MCDEM is currently leading a project aiming at the establishment of a national public alerting system for New Zealand. Currently the warning systems used by agencies vary and have mixed capabilities, resulting in a fragmented and inconsistent approach. There is also no capability to target warnings directly to only those communities that are at risk in a given geographical area. The project aims to address these weaknesses and a business case is currently being prepared. While the focus is on any serious, immediate threats (the project includes the emergency services and other agencies) successful implementation will significantly enhance our ability to communicate with targeted communities during a tsunami warning.”


What were the responses to the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami? ›

In response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, World Vision mounted its largest-ever relief response across five countries simultaneously — Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, and Myanmar — and raised more than $350 million.

Did anyone survive the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami? ›

26, 2004, when a 9.1 magnitude earthquake off the Indonesian coast sent tidal wave speeding toward Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. It killed more than 230,000 people, including Wong. But Lang survived. She blacked out not long after the water hit, she said.

How long did it take to recover from the Boxing Day Tsunami? ›

Over the fifteen-year period, there were major interventions to reconstruct and to rehabilitate the region. Some of the interventions were formally coordinated and run by the Government of Indonesia. Some other actions were performed by international donors and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

What was the impact of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami? ›

Tsunami of 2004, caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, is the most devastating tsunami in modern times, affecting 18 countries in Southeast Asia and Southern Africa, killing more than 250,000 people in a single day, and leaving more than 1.7 million homeless.

What are 2 important facts of the Boxer Day tsunami in 2004? ›

1. 275,000 people were killed in fourteen countries across two continents, with the last two fatalities being swept out to sea in South Africa, more than twelve hours after the earthquake. 2. 40,000 to 45,000 more women than men were killed in the tsunami.

Why did no one know about the Boxing Day Tsunami? ›

When the Indian Ocean tsunami struck on Dec. 26, 2004, no one saw the massive waves coming. Authorities in Indonesia, where a 9.1 magnitude quake sparked the tsunami, weren't able to send out an alert because the country's sensor system had been hit by lightning.

Did anyone famous died in the 2004 tsunami? ›

Notable people killed in the 2004 Asian tsunami: Jane Attenborough, 49, British arts administrator, daughter of actor Richard Attenborough. Troy Broadbridge, 24, Australian Football League player (Melbourne). Kristina Fröjmark, 47, Swedish reality TV star.

How many people went missing in the Boxing Day Tsunami? ›

However, the tsunami that followed killed more people than any other tsunami in recorded history, with 227,898 dead or missing in 14 countries across the Indian Ocean. The worst hit country was Indonesia with 167,540 listed as dead ormissing and damages of $4,451.6 million.

How many people lost their lives in the Boxing Day Tsunami? ›

The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 killed at least 225,000 people across a dozen countries, with Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, and Thailand sustaining massive damage.

Could the 2004 tsunami happen again? ›

It is impossible to predict exactly when or where the next major tsunami will occur. They are very rare events in our limited historical record. But by dating prehistoric tsunami deposits, we can see that major tsunamis happen on average every few hundred years in many coastal regions.

Who helped rebuild after the 2004 tsunami? ›

With support from ADB, the people affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami were able to rebuild their lives and communities.

How long did it take to clean up after 2004 tsunami? ›

Within five years, individuals were back in homes they owned, often on their original land, in communities with new schools and in many cases improved infrastructure.

What are the 10 effects of tsunami? ›

In addition to loss of life and mass injuries, other potential impacts include damage to and destruction of homes and businesses, ports and harbors, cultural resources, utilities, and critical infrastructure and facilities. There may be loss of access to basic services such as power, sewer, and water.

What were the positive effects of the Boxing Day tsunami? ›

Perhaps one of the most important positive effects of tsunamis is a redistribution of nutrients. Tsunamis waves can lift up nutrient-rich sediment in estuaries and deltas and disperse it inland. In so doing, tsunamis help to spread nutrients in agricultural areas thus increasing the fertility of the soil.

How many children died in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami? ›

26. An unusually high number of the victims appear to have been children, lost to epic waves that swept away the weak, the old and the young. Unicef officials estimate that of the 30,000 people killed by the tsunamis in Sri Lanka, at least 10,000 were children.

What is the number 1 worst tsunami? ›

Perhaps the most destructive tsunami in recorded history was the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. A 9.1-magnitude earthquake occurred off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia.

What were the main causes of the Boxing Day Tsunami? ›

The Boxing Day Tsunami was a result of the subduction of the Indo-Australian plate under the Eurasian plate and could not been prevented. There were no warning signs or evacuation plans set in place to mitigate any tsunamis as there had been none in the past 200 years.

What has been done to prevent tsunamis? ›

Site Strategies
  1. Avoid Inundation Areas: Site Buildings or infrastructure away from hazard area or locate on a high point.
  2. Slow Water: Forests, ditches, slopes, or berms can slow down waves and filter out debris. ...
  3. Steering: Water can be steered to strategically placed angled walls, ditches and paved roads.

How many lives were lost in 2004 tsunami? ›

A massive tsunami with waves up to 30 m (100 ft) high, known in some countries as the Boxing Day Tsunami after the Boxing Day holiday, devastated communities along the surrounding coasts of the Indian Ocean, killing an estimated 227,898 people in 14 countries in one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded ...

Who was the girl who saved people 2004 tsunami? ›

Tilly Smith (born 1994) is an English woman who has been credited with saving the lives of about 100 beachgoers at Mai Khao Beach in Thailand by warning them minutes before the arrival of the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

Who was the real family that survived the 2004 tsunami? ›

The Impossible was inspired by the real story of María Belón, who survived the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in Khao Lak, Thailand with her husband Enrique and three kids (Lucas, Simón, and Tomás). For the Tom Holland-starring movie, the real María reportedly worked directly with screenwriter Sergio G.

How tall were the waves in the 2004 tsunami? ›

In Indonesia's Aceh province in Northern Sumatra, waves reached 167 feet (51 meters) and caused flooding up to three miles (five kilometers) inland. On the other side of the ocean, in Somalia, waves ranged in height from 11 to 31 feet (3.4 to 9.4 meters).

Where did people go after the Boxing Day tsunami? ›

Lost homes, land and livelihoods

Most of the displaced lost their homes in the tsunami. Many lost family and friends. About half moved to camps that were set up for the displaced. The other half moved to other communities and lived with family or friends or rented homes.

How much money was donated to the 2004 tsunami? ›

An estimated $13.5 billion (£8.6bn) was raised by the international community. Up to 40 per cent was donated by individuals, trusts, foundations and business, making it the highest ever privately funded emergency.

How far did the 2004 tsunami wave travel? ›

The Indian Ocean tsunami traveled as far as 3,000 miles to Africa and still arrived with sufficient force to kill people and destroy property. Many people in Indonesia reported that they saw animals fleeing for high ground minutes before the tsunami arrived – very few animal bodies were found afterward.

What natural disaster killed the most? ›

Ten deadliest natural disasters by highest estimated death toll
Death toll (Highest estimate)EventLocation
200 millionBlack DeathEurope, Asia and North Africa
100 millionSpanish fluWorldwide
50 millionPlague of JustinianEurope and West Asia
40.1 million (as of 2022)HIV/AIDS pandemicWorldwide
6 more rows

How fast is a tsunami? ›

In the deep ocean, a tsunami can move as fast as a jet plane, over 500 mph, and its wavelength, the distance from crest to crest, may be hundreds of miles.

How much did it cost to rebuild after the 2004 tsunami? ›

$1 billion reconstruction package

Around $323 million was spent on the recovery and reconstruction in Aceh and Nias from 2004-2011.

How do humans survive a tsunami? ›

  • If caused by an earthquake, Drop, Cover, then Hold On to protect yourself from the earthquake first.
  • Get to high ground as far inland as possible.
  • Be alert to signs of a tsunami, such as a sudden rise or draining of ocean waters.
  • Listen to emergency information and alerts. ...
  • Evacuate: DO NOT wait!
Feb 3, 2022

Was the 2004 tsunami the worst ever? ›

The Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 is believed to be the deadliest tsunami in history, killing more than 230,000 people across 14 countries. It began at 7:59am local time on December 26, 2004, when a 9.1-magnitude quake struck off the northern tip of Sumatra in Indonesia. Updated 24 Dec 2014.

Can a tsunami be prevented? ›

There is no season for tsunamis. We cannot predict where, when or how destructive the next tsunami will be. However, while tsunamis cannot be prevented, there are things you can do before, during and after a tsunami that could save your life and the lives of your family and friends.

Where does all the debris go after a tsunami? ›

An estimated 70% of the debris sank near the coast of Japan, while the rest dispersed throughout the ocean. Winds and ocean currents constantly change, making it very difficult to predict where debris ended up, or when it arrived on shorelines in the United States.

Is water being pulled back before tsunami? ›

Why does the water level drop before the tsunami hits? Because it is like a tide, the tide goes out before it comes in. Traditionally we used to call these features 'tide waves' because they behave like a tide.

Does the water go back to the ocean after a tsunami? ›

If the first part of a tsunami to reach the coast is a trough, rather than a wave crest, the water along the shoreline is dragged back dramatically, exposing parts of the shore that are normally underwater and stranding many marine creatures.

What are the 4 main effects of tsunamis? ›

Some impacts of a tsunami event include: a series of waves continuing for many hours that can cause high-level flooding events that can reach far inland; disruption of transportation, power, and other services; destruction and disruption of fresh water supplies; movement of large rocks weighing several tons, along with ...

What is tsunami 10 sentence? ›

The term tsunami means harbour waves. It has a series of waves with a high wavelength, capable of serious damage. The waves created in seas and oceans move towards the land and destroy buildings, homes, forests, etc. Landslides also lead to tsunamis. Most tsunamis often happen in the Pacific ocean.

Did people survive the Boxing Day tsunami? ›

Canadian who survived Boxing Day tsunami 15 years ago says it left her 'forever changed' Canadian Christine Lang still remembers swimming for her life through black, eerily motionless waters in the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami 15 years ago.

How did people respond to the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami? ›

The response to affected communities included: emergency relief - meeting survival needs and restoring basic services. reconstruction of houses and infrastructure. long-term community rehabilitation projects.

What were the responses to the 2004 tsunami? ›

Around 5 million people were affected across 14 countries. The international community raised $13.5 billion, up to 40 per cent by individuals, trusts, foundations and business. It remains the world's highest-ever privately-funded crisis response.

What was the social impact of the 2004 tsunami? ›

1](i)humanitarian toll: it affected more than 18 countries from Southeast Asia to Southern Africa, killing more than 250,000 people in a single day and leaving more than one million homeless,(ii)economic toll: it left several million of dollars of economic loss affecting fishing and tourist industries,(iii) ...

What were the worst areas affected by the 2004 tsunami? ›

The worst affected countries were India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Thailand and Somalia.

What was destroyed in the Boxing Day Tsunami? ›

Over 570,000 people were displaced and 179,000 buildings and homes destroyed in Indonesia as the wave swallowed large parts of the coastline. Massive reconstruction aid in Banda Aceh has since rebuilt a new city on top of the ruins.

What was done to help the Boxing Day tsunami? ›

More than three quarters of a million households benefitted from DEC funds across seven countries, with the majority of the money being spent in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India. DEC member charities built more than 13,700 houses, 55 schools and 68 health centres.

What are the immediate responses to a tsunami? ›

Hold on to any sturdy furniture until the shaking stops. Crawl only if you can reach a better cover, but do not go through an area with more debris. When the shaking stops, if there are natural signs or official warnings of a tsunami, move immediately to a safe place as high and as far inland as possible.

What were the immediate responses of the Indian Ocean tsunami? ›

Immediate Responses

Fresh water, water purification tablets, food, sheeting and tents poured in aid. Medical teams and forensic scientists arrived.

Who helped after the Boxing Day tsunami? ›

UNICEF was on the ground in the affected region at the time of the tsunami disaster and went to work immediately to provide lifesaving humanitarian relief to the survivors. Teams were mobilized in eight countries — Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, India and Somalia.

What are the response strategies of tsunami? ›

If you feel a tsunami threat is imminent, move immediately to the nearest high ground or as far inland as you can, out of tsunami evacuation zones. Check the accuracy of the warning once you have arrived at your safe location or en route only if it won't slow you down.

How do we respond to the threat of tsunamis? ›

If you hear a warning
  1. in the water—get out and move to higher ground.
  2. on a boat or ship. ...
  3. at home or work. ...
  4. if there's no time to get to higher ground, shelter on the upper level of a sturdy brick or concrete building.
  5. in a safe place—stay there until advised it is safe to leave.
Dec 15, 2021

How do you solve a tsunami? ›

Site Strategies
  1. Avoid Inundation Areas: Site Buildings or infrastructure away from hazard area or locate on a high point.
  2. Slow Water: Forests, ditches, slopes, or berms can slow down waves and filter out debris. ...
  3. Steering: Water can be steered to strategically placed angled walls, ditches and paved roads.

How effective was the response to the 2004 tsunami? ›

The international community raised $13.5 billion, up to 40 per cent by individuals, trusts, foundations and business. It remains the world's highest-ever privately-funded crisis response.

What are three of the main causes of tsunami? ›

A tsunami is a series of enormous waves created by an underwater disturbance usually associated with earthquakes occurring below or near the ocean. Volcanic eruptions, submarine landslides, and coastal rock falls can also generate a tsunami, as can a large asteroid impacting the ocean.

How did government respond to tsunami? ›

USAID Disaster Management Program

USAID assisted over 580,000 people impacted by the earthquake and tsunami through the delivery of emergency food, hygiene kits, medical aid, and psycho-social assistance. USAID also implemented program that provided cash-for work to clean up and clear damaged infrastructure.

How many people went missing after the Boxing Day Tsunami? ›

However, the tsunami that followed killed more people than any other tsunami in recorded history, with 227,898 dead or missing in 14 countries across the Indian Ocean.

Where did people go after the Boxing Day Tsunami? ›

Lost homes, land and livelihoods

Most of the displaced lost their homes in the tsunami. Many lost family and friends. About half moved to camps that were set up for the displaced. The other half moved to other communities and lived with family or friends or rented homes.


1. Deadliest Tsunamis | The Deadliest Tsunami of 2004 - Unforgettable Disaster #shortvideo #tsunami
(Can We Survive)
2. The Boxing day Tsunami 2004 National Geographic Documentary HD
3. Scientist who predicted Boxing Day tsunami says another disaster is coming | 60 Minutes Australia
(60 Minutes Australia)
4. Thailand Tsunami 2004 (Carabao) - contains disturbing images
(Ian Roberts)
5. Deadly Disasters Full Episode | Tsunamis
(Deadly Disasters)
6. Asia mourns 15 years after devastating Boxing Day tsunami


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